How to Move Rose Bushes

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Roses are a favorite flower of many people. Despite popular opinion, they're not that hard to grow. And they're not that hard to move or transplant, either. You can move your rose bushes to a new location in your garden by following the simple steps below. Because the branches of the roses must be cut back to help the plant recover from the shock of being moved, you'll sacrifice flowers for a couple months. Don't worry; your rose will bounce back and bloom within a few months after transplanting.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Peat moss
  • Granulated rose food/fertilizer
  • Garden pruning shears
  • Dig hole in new location. Dig a hole about 1 ½ feet wide and 1 ½ feet deep. Improve the soil by adding half of a 5-gallon bucket of peat moss and a handful of granulated rose food/fertilizer. Add a few shovelfuls of the soil you removed and mix the peat moss and fertilizer in with it.

  • Form a cone out of the soil in the center of the hole. The cone should extend from the bottom of the hole and gradually narrow and come to a point about 2 inches below the surface of the surrounding soil. Firm the soil of the cone with your hands to keep it stable.

  • Prune rose bush before digging it up. Prune the major branches back by half their length. Look for an outward-facing bud on the branch (a slight swelling) and cut the branch off just above the bud. New growth will emerge from these buds once the plant recovers from the shock of transplanting. Cut off any side branches.

  • Dig up the rose bush. Drive the shovel into the soil in a ring around the rose bush, about a foot out from the center of the plant, down to one depth of the shovel. Rock the shovel back and forth to help loosen the root ball.

  • Remove as much soil as possible from the roots of the rose bush. If necessary, submerge the roots in a bucket of water for a few minutes to rinse away any clumps of soil clinging to the roots.

  • Position the rose bush so the center of its top growth is centered at the top of the soil cone you formed in Step 2. The roots should be positioned so they are touching the soil as they spread down the cone and out from the plant. Carefully cover roots with 1 or 2 inches of soil, being careful not to leave any air pockets. Firm lightly.

  • Fill hole with water, let it drain, and repeat.

  • Finish back filling hole. Try not to disturb the plant as you fill the hole with the remaining soil. Add enough soil so that the swollen knob of the rose bush is just below the surface of the soil.

  • Use your hands to make a ridge of soil around the outside perimeter of the hole. This forms a saucer-like shape around the rose that will catch water and send it down to the rose's roots.

  • Fill the saucer-like indentation around the rose bush with water and let drain.

Tips & Warnings

  • Roses need a lot of water. Make sure to water your newly planted rose bush twice a week until it resumes active growth. Water once a week thereafter.
  • When moving or transplanting a rose bush, it is important not to let any pockets of air surround the roots; make sure the soil is well packed around them.

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